Instead of preaching yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit and listen to some good preaching at Capitol Hill Baptist Church as part of "The Weekender" that I have been attending. I like doing this from time to time because it helps me remember what it means to listen to preaching. Pastor Mark Dever preach from the second half of 2 Thessalonians, specifically 2:13-3:18. He dealt with two aspects of the Christian Life.
First, he talked about Christian Work from the second half of the section. In a meeting later in the evening, he explained that he went out of order in this passage because he knew that more people in his church would have questions about this section, but he wanted to emphasize the previous section of the text. So, this was in some way, to get the work question out of the way early, so he could emphasize the grace question later. (As a side note, he's is much more gifted than I am in preaching, but I would not have done it this way).
He has a way of asking some very diagnostic questions that helped me think through the question of work. For instance, he asked, "Are you helping your children understand what it means to work?" That made me stop and think about my kids, am I teaching them an ethic of laziness or an ethic of hard work. And are there consequences to them when they are lazy and do not work? Are there certain people that I look to that are models of what it means to work hard? Am I that guy? Do I want people to follow my work ethic as I work hard in following Christ?
The bulk of the sermon was found in the first half of the text when he talked about Christian Grace. The Apostle Paul writes,
"But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Thess. 13-14).
He emphasized six subpoints about the Christian being saved by grace.
- This Grace is God's favor contrary to what we have done.
- This Grace comes through faith
- This Grace brings hope
- This Grace does not preclude our effort
- This Grace gives strength
- This Grace stirs up prayer
I was particularly impacted by the 5th point when he asked everyone to fill in this statement: God has given me the strength to do ______________. How would you answer that question?
It was a good sermon, great questions to help diagnose a heart of laziness at the beginning and great statements to help encourage a heart of sin at the end. If you want to listen to the sermon, you can find it at their church website by going HERE.